The British American Tobacco Nigeria has said that it generates $100m annually from 13 West African markets.
According to the firm, this is made possible by consumers’ faith in its exports from Nigeria.
The Area Operations Manager, BATN, Mr. Charles Kyalo, made this declaration while conducting journalists round BATN’s $150m mega production plant in Ibadan on Wednesday.
He said that it was possible for Nigeria to export additional products if more countries could be persuaded to have faith in the country’s products.
“Nigeria can export more. There needs to be more people outside Nigeria who could accept that something good can come out of Nigeria,” he said.
Kyalo, however, pointed out that it was very challenging exporting from Nigeria because of the high cost of doing business and its impact on product prices.
“We spend N2.6bn on diesel to power our 4.7 megawatts generator every year and that makes our products more expensive than products of our competitors from other countries,” he stated.
He said it was equally tasking importing because of the high exchange rate of the naira against major currencies, adding, “We import tobacco from almost 20 countries and that is very challenging.”
Speaking on the welfare of the firm’s employees, the BATN area operations manager disclosed that BATN targeted the ultimate safety of workers, stressing that reducing accidents in the workplace was the focus of BAT globally.
He also said that for eight years, there had been no major accident to factory workers and employees at the plant.
Kyalo said, “Our ultimate goal is making sure that nobody gets injured while working for BAT. We want our employees to come to work in one piece and go back to their families without any injury.
“We still have accidents and minor incidents across the board but I will say if you compare with peers, we are one of the lowest in any safety-related incidents.”
To ensure safety, he said that there was a clinic inside the plant with nurses on call 24 hours and a doctor coming in regularly to attend to employees.
He said, “There is also an ambulance on standby to take people to the hospital if we need to move them out of the plant. If there is any case of injury, it has to be reported within 24 hours to our group headquarters, investigation has to be done and communicated to all our branches in other countries for them to be aware of such risks and take measures to mitigate them.”
He said that in terms of the environment, the firm had also taken steps to ensure that its processes had minimal impact on the environment.
“That is why we have the water treatment plant. For any water to get out of here, we test it to ensure that it is almost as good as water we can drink,” he said
He added, “The regulators come here to conduct regular checks and ensure that we are keeping to best practices in our factory processes.
“All our training on safety also impacts on the communities around us because we tell our employees to ensure that some of the good training we give them here is passed unto to their communities.”